I’m in one of the station shipping offices, querying the transaction on a recent mineral sales, the deductions seem heavier than usual. I cant help notice that the mood is sombre though, very different from the usual jolly atmosphere on previous visits here.
One of the staff members has been crying in her seat. Her name is Rachael, she lost family in the previous Thargoid raids, and now the most recent attacks have stirred up the memories once again. But added to this, jobs in this department are at risk due to falling mineral prices - the hard working, lower paid grafters are the first to go. I try to find words to console her but cant really think of the right things to say. Emotions – I’m not very good at them. Well, not good at showing them or reacting to them in others. Over the years, I have become desensitised to them. I cant remember the last time I cried through sadness or grief. I have wanted to a few times, but it can be like a bottle that I cant remove the lid from.
Its not fair. The not-so-high flyers, who actually do the work and make things happen are sacrificed for the good of the corporation, so that the high earners, the big boys and girls, can continue to cream off substantial gains and live the life they are accustomed to. There are four in the team here – the organization cannot function without them, yet their bosses don’t really know exactly what they do, they are just treated as numbers. A headcount of four, where two must go. The remaining two to pick up the pieces, more work for them with no more pay. They are not the most dynamic bunch, but they are essential, they know their job well and have been doing it for years.
“Why don’t you give mining a go for yourself?” I suggest to one of them, half seriously. I make it sound so easy, just to hop in a ship and plunder nearby rocks for precious gems and sell them on. But for some its just not that simple.
“I have kids, commitments, responsibilities.” Replies one of the others. “I don’t fancy sitting out there in a tin can being shot at by pirates or with huge rocks flying towards me. Besides, I don’t have a ship, don’t have the money, the training, the equipment. I would have to get registered, then the company would find out and tell me to get stuffed. Up until a few weeks ago I was quite happy with my quiet little life, safe in the station.” He continues to dismiss the idea, I get his point. Even so, I’m sure these guys would be able to start-up, they just need a break. Additionally, if they team up, they could stick a finger up at the boss and walk out all at once. Jumping ship to a better life sounds a no-brainer, but the reality of it can be very difficult for some.
“You know you could have got an extra 1500 per tonne on this stuff over at the neighbouring system?” says the older guy who is looking at my recent transaction. “Then there is this deduction here could have been avoided if you had declared your recent anti-xeno weapon purchases. This deduction here,” he points further down the screen at a large figure, “is a new one that they recently made up. It was intended to offset the losses in mineral prices we’ve seen lately.” He continued.
I could use a little help getting a better deal on my mined goods at the moment, accounts isn’t my forte. Maybe I could help these guys with a clean break, while at the same time making a little more for myself. Its got to be worth a shot.
My suggestion is train these four up as a small independent mining group. One or two on mining, another on transporting the goods. They could in theory get set up with a mining Sidewinder with minimal expense and maybe an Adder or Hauler to move goods to the preferred stations. But first they need cash, experience, flying hours and a little more confidence.
“Come along with me for the next trip” I suggest. I could take some of you out at a time in the Cutter, you could log a few flying hours, I'll take you thorough the basics and so on. You could then get me the best deal on what we mine, we could soon earn enough extra to set you up with a couple of small ships. Small time mining, yes, but it will be low risk. I’ll show you where to go and what to do. You help me sell it. You’ll only need a few tonnes of painite before its paid for itself. What do you think?” They seem to like the idea, but of course have their reservations.
“I’ll come back in a few days. Have a think about it.” I say, as I leave the office.
My ship is ready for another mining run, I leave the station and head back out.